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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Westport’s Save the Children Mourns Deaths of Two Staffers

Staff members of Westport-based Save the Children are mourning the deaths of two colleagues who died Sunday in Indonesia as a result of the earthquake and tidal waves that devastated south and southeastern Asia, the charity said today.

It said three other staff members were missing.

Save the Children USA, which has operated health, nutrition and job-creation programs in the Aceh province of Indonesia since 1976, is the largest international humanitarian agency working in the province.

The agency has intensified its efforts to provide food, water, shelter and medical care to children and their families impacted not only in Indonesia but throughout the Asian region, the agency said in a statement..

“We are facing enormous challenges in Asia, but time and again I have seen Save the Children staff display a remarkable ability to help children and their families overcome terrible times,” said Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children USA.

Save the Children USA’s field office in Indonesia reported today that Suka Mardiah, a bookkeeper, and her baby were killed while the two were visiting Suka’s mother who lived on a beach outside the province’s capital city of Banda Aceh. Pak Jailani, a driver, also died when he was swept out to sea.

The field office reported that a midwife training center, a centerpiece for helping reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in the Aceh province, was destroyed and 10 participating midwives were killed.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to all of the families who have lost loved ones as a result of this enormous catastrophe,” said MacCormack.

“Of the 24 Save the Children workers in the province at the time of the earthquake, we know that 19 survived, two died and three others remain unaccounted for.

“We are doing all we can to locate our staff members who are still missing and to support our staff and their families during this terrible time.”

“We are also intensifying our efforts throughout the region to assist children and families in need, with a special focus on the Aceh province of Indonesia, coastal areas of India and Sri Lanka,” he said..

Save the Children plans to provide families the basic necessities to survive the disaster including water, food, shelter, and medical supplies, while also helping children adjust to the catastrophe.

“We don’t want to lose sight of the impact that this disaster will have on hundreds of thousands of children.” said MacCormack. “This tragedy is going to affect many children for a long-time. Save the Children will seek to provide programs designed to help affected children adjust to this terrible tragedy.”

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Posted 12/28/04 at 09:33 PM  Permalink



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